We Need More Programmes To Engage Inmates - Prison Head
Acting Superintendent of Prison Mario Christopher is calling for more programmes at Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP), as inmates at the facility continue to express their willingness to be constructively occupied during their tenure there.
“Most of the inmates are concerned with being occupied; they want something to do. So our major problem is programmes, we need programmes to engage the inmates,” Christopher said.
He added, “Right now, the largest programme we have going is the farm programme, and we always had that, but we had it on a larger scale where we had egg production. We no longer have the egg production, but it is something that we are looking to scale up on later on in this year, and it will come at a time where I think we will need it because given the situation the country is in, we would need to be in a position to generate revenue and that was a big revenue stream for the prison."
He said the poultry initiative was destroyed in the 2017 hurricanes and despite their efforts to restore it, there have been setbacks such as the lack of electricity which comes at a cost of close to $10,000 to install at the farm.
“Given the current pandemic we are going to have to focus on prioritized spending and electricity for that right now is not necessarily a priority. However, in moving forward, they would like to get the building back up and functional,” he remarked.
In the meantime, Christopher said the majority of inmates at HMP have completed all the rehabilitative programmes like general counselling.
He said the woodwork, plumbing and electrical programmes that were once a part of the offerings have ended.
He said that the government assisted with the cost of certain programmes; however, others are to be covered by the prison, and with the reduction in the budget, they are unable to facilitate these programmes.
“So it’s a matter of joining up the resources to do certain things,” he remarked.
Another challenge with the Coronavirus Disease pandemic is the need to practice social distancing, the other programmes such as computer literacy and general online college courses had to be scaled back he said.